News & Letters, Vol. 58, No. 3
May – June 2013
Draft for Marxist-Humanist Perspectives, 2013-2014
Capitalism’s violence, masses’ revolt show need for total view
The world today is riven between the creativity of masses in revolt and the violent degeneracy of counter-revolution, whose destructiveness even extends to the revived specter of nuclear war two decades after the collapse of the USSR. Such is the degeneracy of the globalized capitalist system, laden with destructive forces and sunk into structural crisis. The deep crisis is seen in the U.S. and abroad, economically, in unemployment and poverty, homelessness and hunger. It is seen politically, in new laws attacking workers and women, and new outbursts of racism. It is seen environmentally, with the advance of climate disruption and fake capitalistic solutions. It is seen in thought, as the lack of philosophy, of a total view, hampers the development of struggles from the U.S. to the revolutions of the Arab Spring facing counter-revolutions.
I. Capitalism’s many crises
A. Toward the nuclear brink
B. Europe’s economic crisis and revolt
C. Automation, joblessness in U.S.
II. The politics of degenerate capitalism
A. American civilization on trial
B. Wars of the U.S.
III. Climate change and development
IV. Arab Spring and the missing link of philosophy
From the Writings of Raya Dunayevskaya:
Hegel’s Absolute Idea is for workers
Although we, as a state capitalist tendency, had been saying for years that we live in an age of absolutes, that the task of the theoreticians was the working out materialistically of Hegel’s last chapter on The Absolute Idea, we were unable to relate the daily struggles of the workers to this total conception. The maturity of the age, on the other hand, disclosed itself in the fact that, with automation, the worker began to question the very mode of labor. Thus the workers began to make concrete, and thereby extended, Marx’s profoundest conceptions, for the innermost core of the Marxian dialectic, around which everything turns, is that the transformation of society must begin with the material life of the worker, the producer.
Judging workers for control and profit
The phenomenon of human beings losing a race with machines is especially pernicious in the healthcare workplace. The computer has become the virtual boss of everyone in the shop, by setting the pace of everyone’s job.
Thatcher is dead, Thatcherism persists
They gathered openly, in the streets, in the hundreds. They shouted. They cheered. Flags were waved, music was played. Yet this was not just another Belfast parade in the name of Republican pride. Far from death being a solemn occasion, the demise of British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, the so-called “Iron Lady,” was a cause for celebration. … But what is vitally important is to see her abhorrent policies for what they are–not the product of a deranged personality now gone, but the product of a political and economic system in its own right.
The entire state of Michigan voted against the harsh emergency manager law, Public Act 436, last November only to have the lame-duck state legislature vote it right back in before year’s end. On the day, March 28, that Act 436 took effect, Detroit Public Schools Emergency Manager fired the interim superintendent of schools. … Meanwhile, neighborhoods languish under mounting piles of trash, abandoned houses, stores, factories and vehicles. City services are reduced by mandatory budget cut “furloughs.” The challenge for Detroit residents is: can we stand up and organize ourselves for quality living and working conditions, some of which includes wresting support and services from our unelected new leaders? Can we articulate and realize a future Detroit developed for human needs?
The Boston Marathon bombing follows mass killings in the past year in an Aurora, Colo., theater, at a Sikh temple in Wisconsin and at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn. The body count might have risen sharply if the bombs had been of dynamite like what killed four little girls in 1963 at a Birmingham church, or of the fertilizer type that killed 168 people and destroyed the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City in 1995, instead of relatively low-tech gunpowder bombs made by amateur bombers.
Portsmouth, England: unite against austerity
“We are going through the biggest squeeze in living standards since my granddad was born in this city in the 1920s,” said Jones, who cites his grandfather’s conversion to trade unionism precisely through his experience working in Portsmouth.